Remote jobs and freelance work aren’t new. Both are continuously growing setups with the popularity of coworking spaces and conducive coffee shops. But since the coronavirus pandemic started and the community quarantine measures enforced,, people have been forced to work remotely (whether they adhere to the telecommuting principle or not). 

Based on reports by PayPal and Payoneer, the Philippines is one of the top countries that show promising growth in the gig economy in the years to come, with the country ranking sixth in the latter’s 2019 survey. According to PayPal, a large number of freelancers in the country is composed of people below 30 years old (mostly students and college graduates hustling on the side while looking for full-time employment) and women who are mostly stay-at-home moms who want to earn while raising their children. 

If you’ve had to shift to a work-from-home arrangement since the quarantine began or if you want to start a new job in the gig economy, here are some skills that can come in handy.

TIME MANAGEMENT AND TASK PRIORITIZATION

Time is really of the essence, especially in remote jobs that have strict hours and freelance work that doesn’t necessarily follow a nine-to-five schedule. It’s about putting discipline into practice by accomplishing as many tasks as you can in a prompt manner. 

If distractions are your worst enemy, then it’s time to try out effective time management methods like the Pomodoro technique or the Eisenhower matrix. The first method is about breaking down tasks in 25-minute intervals and taking short breaks in between. This technique can improve focus, productivity and attention span while letting you take some time to pause and breathe.

Maintaining work-life balance is also a mark of professionalism. You can create a personal workspace in a corner of your room or a part of the house so you can have a space specifically for work, without mixing your personal life.

The second method requires listing down tasks into four segments: urgent and important, not urgent but important, urgent but not important and neither urgent nor important. By classifying tasks based on their urgency and importance, you’ll know which ones to work on first. 

TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

Whatever your job, knowledge on instant messaging, video and web presentation and conferencing and file-sharing tools is necessary. Common messaging apps and software used for instant messaging are WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram and Facebook Messenger while top web conferencing apps include Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts. File-sharing apps such as Dropbox, WeTransfer, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive are often used for storing and sending documents via links or attachments.

Employers and clients prefer candidates who can work with different technical tools, so proficiency in these apps and other essential software for business is necessary if you’re seeking new work-from-home job opportunities.

COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION

Working from home means no officemates to share snacks and stories with, no comparison of meals and no good-natured banter with teammates. But this also means more emails, messages and calls from colleagues, managers and even clients. 

Staying connected with people you work with helps you engage and build rapport that can shape your team’s overall performance. Communicating well in all platforms by being clear and concise with your replies can ensure clear, direct instructions and minimize challenges and misunderstandings. An effective communication strategy can save time and money as well as create a harmonious working environment.

Staying connected with people you work with helps you engage and build rapport that can shape your team’s overall performance.

PROFESSIONALISM

It might be harder to get up every morning since you don’t have to brave the traffic to get to your office and all you need to do is open your laptop and check your phone. Don’t let this mindset affect the quality of your work.

Try changing your perspective—even if starting work means just walking a few steps from your bed. Try dressing up like you are going to the office and you might feel empowered and ready to take on your tasks for the day. 

Maintaining work-life balance is also a mark of professionalism. You can create a personal workspace in a corner of your room or a part of the house so you can have a space specifically for work, without mixing your personal life. Allotting time for work and a separate time for personal agenda, setting goals for the day and getting ahead of deadlines are also keys to staying professional while working at home.

Doing remote work while in the confines of your personal space might be difficult especially during this time, but learning these skills will make working from home a lot easier and productive. 

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